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Frequently Asked Questions


What do we mean with Cultural Heritage?

Heritage is an important component of individual and collective identity. In both its tangible and intangible forms it contributes to the cohesion of the European Union and plays a fundamental role in European integration by creating links between citizens. According to the definition by UNESCO “Cultural Heritage” can be defined as composed of:

Tangible cultural heritage: movable cultural heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts), immovable cultural heritage (monuments, archaeological sites, and so on), underwater cultural heritage (shipwrecks, underwater ruins and cities)

Intangible cultural heritage: oral traditions, performing arts, rituals

Natural cultural heritage: natural sites with cultural aspects such as cultural landscapes, physical, biological or geological formations

Digital cultural heritage: computer-based materials containing cultural heritage, including in different formats of texts, databases, still and moving images, audio, graphics, software, and web pages

What is a Joint Programming Initiative?

The Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) represent an instrument launched in 2008 by the European Commission with the aim of getting the European Research Area (ERA) more effective and successful. JPIs are supposed to increase the value of relevant national and EU R&D funding by implementing joint planned actions and promoting best practices in research funding and evaluating activities. Each JPI focuses on one of 10 societal challenges identified by the EC: climate, urban development, health, food and agriculture, antimicrobial resistance, seas and oceans, demographic change, neurodegenerative diseases, water and cultural heritage. JPIs promote the collaboration of national research systems against a fragmented approach that does not allow tackling the current issues of the European countries. JPIs refers only to public research programs. Among the instruments included in the JPIs action strategy and promoted by the EC the most relevant are the funding calls addressed to cross countries networks of researchers and the policy of alignment of research national programs.

More information on EC Web site

What are the benefits for a Member State participating in the JPICH?

JPI CH Member and Associated Countries benefit from implementing actions, first of all joint calls, that strenghten  the national and European excellence knowledge base and provide Research and Innovation sectors the opportunity to grow in competitiveness. In particular, joint calls represent a real opportunity for researchers and other stakeholders in the field of cultural heritage to get funding for implementing innovative and excellence projects with long run impacts. More generally, benefits from the JPI CH participation are concerned with the value given to cultural heritage increasingly exposed to varied types of risks, from climate change to erosion and vandalism. Countries that take part into the JPI CH contribute actively to the safeguarding of cultural heritage through the promotion of their national research systems, since cultural heritage includes the valorization of tangible, intangible and digital forms other than the protection and restoration of cultural assets. JPI CH may provide Countries with additional instruments and strategies given the fact that single nation policies are not always effective or cannot fulfill the real societal needs.

How is JPI Cultural Heritage connected to the European Commission?

The Joint Programming Initiatives have been launched by the European Commission in 2008 in order to support the European Research Area (ERA). JPI CH, as well as the other JPIs, follows the recommendations and strategies outlined by the EC. On this purpose, the interaction between the implementation of the JPI CH activities and the yearly Work Programmes had place both in the Seventh Framework Programme and in Horizon2020 up to last years, respectively with the JHEP Project and Heritage Plus Project.

From a financial perspective, joint calls for supporting transnational teams of researchers on cultural heritage get funding mainly from national governments of the Member States. Besides, there is a co-fund from the EC.

Furthermore, the EC facilitates the Joint Programming process by:

  • Launching possible complementary measures to actions undertaken jointly by participating countries as identified in each JPI Strategic Research Agenda
  • Linking the JPIs to international actions and bodies where the EC represents the EU
  • Reporting on the JPI progress to the Council and informing the European Parliament.

A representative of the EC shall attend the Governing Board meeting with an observer status and a representative of the EU Presidency shall be invited to attend the Governing Board meeting with an observer status.

What does the JPI CH do concretely?

JPI CH gives national research systems the opportunity of creating scientific networks for sharing knowledge in the field of cultural heritage, bridging the gaps and finding solutions. Thus, the most relevant activities carried out by the JPI CH management partnership are the Joint Calls for funding excellent research projects in the field of cultural heritage. Two Calls have been launched since the creation of the JPI and 26 transnational research projects have been funded. Besides this instrument which is the most tangible action of the JPI, it is not to neglect the joint work of the Member States aimed at addressing the research towards priorities, defining common fields of interventions, and facilitate the exchange of knowledge.  The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) – the strategic charter of the JPI CH – identifies these overarching elements that are essential for the new research landscape to be successful and which include Capability and Capacity, Management Strategies, Knowledge Sharing and Research Infrastructure.

How many calls a year the JPI CH partnership plans?

Generally, JPI CH launches one call every two years. The first Call within the framework of JHEP Project was launched in 2012 and funded 10 projects. The second call within the framework of Heritage Plus project was launched in 2014 and 16 projects were funded. The next call will be launched in 2017.

What kind of projects are funded by the Joint Calls?

Joint Calls aims at funding excellent collaborative, transnational, interdisciplinary, innovative R&D projects focused on tangible cultural heritage research, while not excluding the interlinked aspects of intangible and digital heritage. The Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) recognizes that different types of heritage cannot be seen as separate entities. The Call intends to maximize the impact and added value of the research undertaken to non-academic stakeholders such as policy makers but in particular to NGOs and business, including SMEs. The intention is to narrow the gap between cultural heritage research and the implementation of the resulting knowledge to solve problems relating to the assessment, protection and management of cultural heritage. In order to address the applicants, the guidelines generally specify a few main topic to be chosen as reference argument of each proposal.

Which are the obligations of the Member States?

Any Member State and Associated Country participating in JPI CH shall be represented in the Governing Board (GB) by a maximum of two representatives (coming for instance from ministries, research organization, funding bodies, research councils…) with a governmental mandate, nominated by the competent Ministry of the country. Each country can also nominate one deputy representative. If not otherwise decided by the participating countries, in accordance with their internal rules, the members of the Governing Board shall be appointed for a term of 5 years. One of these representatives shall act as the official spokesperson with voting rights (one vote only).

Each participating country shall have one vote in the Governing Board, irrespective of the number of its representatives/alternates. Any vote shall be indivisible.

Only Partners are allowed to vote at the Governing Board, and on condition that they are up to date with their payment of the annual membership fee.

Is it possible to take part to the JPICH partnership at any time?

Yes, it is possible to enter the JPI CH partnership at any time by contacting the Coordination Unit ( that will mediate the communication with the JPI CH Governing Board, and will support the new Member State along its adhesion process. The GB is always open to new participants.

What are the activities of the Coordination Unit?

The Coordination Unit coordinates the implementation of the JPI CH strategy outlined by the GB and helps the management organs – BG, EB, AB and SC – in their activities. It is constituted by the Coordinator (the French Ministry of Culture and the Foundation for Heritage Sciences ) and the JPI CH Coordination Office for the necessary support in the day-to-day management. The Coordination Unit is also in charge of keeping the contact with the European Commission and being the reference subject for any problem that may arise.